What Are Semi Truck Emissions Regulations

Heavy trucks are known for emitting high levels of gases such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that affect the environment negatively. They account for more than 400 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. To substantially reduce emissions, federal and state agencies, such as EPA, strive to cut their carbon footprint by introducing semi-truck emissions regulations.

The EPA standards, which require adherence from fleet owners, truck and vehicle manufacturers, and regulatory bodies such as DOT, aim to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent by 2031.

Such pollution regulations for trucks and trailers are to preserve the environment by ensuring clean energy by cutting the NOx that produces smog and soot in high amounts. The move also reduces respiratory diseases in humans by providing clean air. On that note, let’s read on to understand more about truck emissions and regulations.

Hauling a semi truck on a step deck trailer.

What are Semi Truck Emissions?

Semi-trucks or heavy-duty trucks that transport equipment and oversized loads produce high amounts of dangerous gases that can harm animals, humans, and the environment.

According to the EPA, the transportation sector, including trains, trucks, and airplanes, accounted for 29 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in 2021. It also shows that medium and heavy-duty trucks emit 23 percent GHG, almost half the gases light-duty vehicles emit.

Semi-truck emissions include:

  • Nitrogen oxide (NOx)
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Volatile hydrocarbons or organic compounds (HC) such as benzene and xylenes
  • Particulate matter (PM)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO).

These pollutants negatively affect human health and the environment, hence the need to eliminate them using different measures, including implementing EPA regulations. Speak with the logistics company you choose if you’re more interested in the EPA regulations.

Why Are There Semi Truck Emissions Regulations?

The federal government in the USA sets emission standards for semi-trucks and other heavy-duty trucks. The stringent emission regulations in the shipping industry have been updated for several years to ensure lower emissions and preserve the environment and lives.

Some of the standards that truck manufacturers and bodies like DOT and FMSCA should comply with include:

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium-duty Engines and Vehicles. Finalized in October 2016, the regulation aims to cut carbon pollution by heavy-duty vehicles, including semi-trucks. The EPA and NHTSA standards were for model years 2018 to 2027 to ensure trucks and large pickups lower carbon dioxide emissions by 1.1 billion metric tons. It encourages truck manufacturers to use more advanced technologies to reduce semi-truck emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-duty Engines and Vehicle Standards. These regulations were set in December 2022 by the EPA to reduce air pollution in the country further by achieving zero emissions by 2040. All truck models from the year 2027 should adhere to this stringent semi-truck emissions standard to create clean cars and trucks.
Shipping two semi trucks on a step deck trailer.

How to Adhere to Semi Truck Emissions Regulations For Transport

After rules and regulations are set and implemented, they require adherence from affected parties. Shipping and transport companies, fleet owners, and truckers should know the standards to inform their truck purchase decisions soon.

They can adhere to the semi-truck emissions regulations in the following ways.

  • Fleet owners and shipping companies should understand the latest regulations that provide specific emission limits for trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.
  • When upgrading their trucks, fleet managers should go for ones that have lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • You can also lower your carbon footprint by investing in regular maintenance practices of the engines and emissions systems. Proper tune-ups reduce gas emissions when the truck is in transit or idle.
  • Companies in the transport industry enroll in programs that advocate reducing greenhouse gases for better understanding and incentives that ensure compliance.

To Wrap it Up!

Semi-truck emissions are there to preserve the environment as per the Clean Air Act. They require adherence that ensures harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and VOCs are reduced significantly in the air we breathe.

Adhering to the set truck emission standards can affect fleet owners in the shipping industry in several ways, including raising the purchase prices of trucks, increasing maintenance requirements, and reducing fuel costs due to improved energy efficiency.


Reach out to a logistics specialist from Nationwide Transport Services, LLC for more information on any topic in logistics by dialing (877) 278-3135.

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